Tiger Woods made it sound as though Rory McIlroy played a brand of golf with which he wasn’t familiar with Thursday in the PGA Championship.
McIlroy looked free and easy and saw only opportunity at Southern Hills. He blasted his driver over trees and into fairways, setting up some of his seven birdies that carried him to a five-under 65 and an early one-shot lead.
Woods picked his spots and was never terribly crisp on a right leg he said felt worse than it did at the Masters last month. He fell apart in the middle of his round and at the end, finishing with two bogeys for a 74 and his worst start to a PGA since 2015.
It was just what McIlroy needed as he tries to end nearly eight years without a major, many of those chances doomed by bad starts. This was his lowest start to par since a five-under 66 when he won the PGA at Valhalla in 2014, the last of his four majors.